12 Hours in Frankfurt | Walking Tour
To get back to Chile from Cappadocia, Turkey
would have meant 3 layovers (Istanbul, Frankfurt, and Madrid), and about a whole day lost to flights. I know this sounds really tempting, but we decided to pass up on the opportunity to completely skip a day of our lives and ”travel through time”. We split up the flight and stayed in Frankfurt for a night and most of the following day which is was the best choice.
We had absolutely no plans once we got there, few things in mind to do (mainly involving beer and food), and we were completely fine with this since we hadn’t received a lot of raving reviews about Frankfurt. Over the years I find myself not planning out what to do as much but rather going with he flow and seeing where things take me with a focus on the experience I want to have. In Frankfurt, we wanted to relax from the past 2+ weeks of travel
and prepare for our 15 hour flight
and see what we stumble up.
Staying near the airport, we took the metro into downtown, Hauptbahnhof/Central Station
, and wondered around a bit.
Before leaving our hotel, I downloaded the TripAdvisor’s Frankfurt City Guide
in case all else failed and we needed a bit of direction. At some point during the day we decided to do one of the half day routes and saw a mixture of the new and old of Frankfurt.
|45 mt. high (178 ft.)
A reoccurring theme pops up in Frankfurt – sites that have been damaged or destroyed during WWII, yet iconic age-old remnants like the Eschenheimer Tor are still standing. From the 15th century it once part of a greater system of Medieval fortifications throughout the city, and guards lived in this tower up until 1956!
In the midst of Frankfurt’s most popular shopping street, Zeil, the Hauptwache was a pretty interesting and unassuming building since it is now a cozy restaurant and cafe sitting at the center of the Konstablerwache Plaza – perfect for watching Frankfurt come alive in the afternoon. This quaint cafe allows you to sit in a piece of history and enjoy a cup of coffee, or morning beer (which was kind of a weird sight for us) as it was originally a prison and later a police station prior to sustaining damages during WWII.
|On Zeil St.
We stopped for a bite to eat here – bratwurst, currywurst, and beer.
German democracy was born here starting off as a Lutheran church and ultimately seating Parliament in 1845 which was the first time Germans publicly and freely elected a legislative body!
Neu Krame is one of the city’s oldest shopping streets with designer boutiques, antique stores, a beautiful and typically German square.
A visit to Frankfurt is incomplete without learning a bit about Goethe, the celebrated and epic writer, best known for the play Faust
, Goethe’s rendition of the German legend where the protagonist, Faust, makes a pact with the devil for absolute knowledge and limitless pleasures. We visited his family home, a museum narrating family history and Goethe´s upbringing leading to his literary career.
I loved the interior of the house which seemed much smaller from the outside with its enormous staircase, impressive and towering grandfather clock, artwork and portraits, and my favorite – the library. Again, Goethe’s house was also a destroyed during the allied bombing, and some of the interior are copies of original furniture and belongings that the family is known to have had.
Kaiserdom Sankt Bartholomaus
Simply known as the Dom, you immediately notice the Gothic spires rising from the city like an ode to the past reminding you that Frankfurt is much more than a financial hub with state of the at modern buildings, but a rich history of culture weaves in and out of the city. The name Kaiserdom comes from the tradition of crowning German kings and emperors AKA kaisers for over 2 centuries (16-18th c.). The current Dom is actually a replica of the original since it too was destroyed during WWII bombings. You can also climb 324 steps to the top of the tower for great panoramic views of the city.
I really liked how this church was different from many other churches I’ve seen – there is a red tint on the interior walls giving you a feeling if its vintage, shields with coat of arms highlight the walls, and frescos pop out of its corners. Not one but two crucifixions capture your attention, one at the entrance and the other directly in front of it, down the main isle at the altar.
We ended our walking tour at the famous iron footbridge taking you to the other side of the Main River which was also reconstructed after suffering damages during WWII. If you hop over to the other side, don’t miss the Städel Museum
holding one of the most important art collections in Europe. Many museums are also located on this side of the bridge. From here you can walk full circle back to the central train station as well.
We finally sat down for a meal before heading back to the hotel. While we were having a nice lunch sitting outside enjoying the 75°F weather (24°C), I noticed something odd happening – a taxi van strolled up and out popped two women. I didn’t think anything was too out of the ordinary until I started to connect the dots – two women in skimpy clothing, a ”taxi” with a camera inside facing towards the backseat, and a sticker on the can that read ”Visit-X Taxi” with an image of a topless woman taxi driver. A guy with anther camera was with this crew along with another woman having the men passengers sign some documents, and a behind-the-scenes chick with a shirt reading ”real f***ing” among other things.
Ummm, WTF is happening at lunch? I just wanted to have some schnitzel and beer, but we got quite a show. It was funny to watch other people’s reactions that ranged from a grin to wonder to pretending nothing is happening…or perhaps they were numb to this.
|Interview at the end of the ride.
It turned out to be a little less crazy than I thought. Two girls take one guy around for a ride, they quiz him, and if answering correctly her receives an ”erotic reward” – whatever that is supposed to mean. I felt like I was the only one in WTF mode. How odd that this was happening in broad daylight in a nice area of town.
What did we Miss?
A lot, but there were three places that we would have liked to see:
- The Palmengarten – one of Frankfurt’s botanical gardens, and largest in Germany, with rose and cactus gardens, tropical aquatic plants, a pond with rowing boats, and the list goes on. Sounds like a great stop, especially if you’re traveling with kids.
- Frankfurt Main Tower – Standing 826 mt., there are two viewing platforms at the 54th floor!
- Fressgrass – Third largest pedestrian street with tons of shopping and known as a culinary paradise.
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